Battle Report – Ensnared

The Beastclaw Raiders are giving the Mortal Realms a real shaking, and we are not going to stop them – this time we are going to see what the forces of Death make of them!

Grab yourself a coffee as you go through this battle report as it is, as they say, a good ‘un…

 

The Story So Far

The Bloodbound warhorde of Lord Kargor flooded into the valleys of the Hallowhoar, eager to claim skulls for Khorne but unaware they were being stalked by Ragnir, an Icebrow Hunter who was tracking them for his Alfrostun. Unfortunately for the Ogors, the Bloodbound were utterly destroyed by the deathless armies of the Cold-Iron King. However, Frostlord Braggoth would not be denied his prize, and he ordered the Alfrostun to attack before the Bloodbound corpses could be rendered into more undead.

In his arrogance, the Cold-Iron King opened the gates of his tomb-city when he saw the Alfrostun approach, confident his skeletal legions would annihilate the Ogors. However, while arrogant, the Cold-Iron King was no fool, and he summoned his Nighthaunt allies and Morghast Archai, a gift from Arkhan himself.

Frostlord Braggoth was not daunted by the array of undead before him, for he had destroyed countless armies in his life, and he split the Alfrostun, with the Jorlbad and Eurlbad taking different flanks, even as Ragnir disappeared with his Frost Sabres to ambush the undead at an opportune time…

 

The Forces

The forces of Death are certainly not going to get an easy run in this battle, with the Beastclaw Raiders fielding a total of 5 Stonehorns and a Thundertusk!

Beastclaw Raiders
Frostlord on Stonehorn (Braggoth)
Huskards on Stonehorns x 2
Stonehorn Beastriders x 2
Mournfang Riders x 8 (four units of 2)
Thundertusk Beastriders
Icebrow Hunter (Ragnir)
Frost Sabres x 6

The Beastclaw Raiders are no longer sending out a raiding party here and there – this is a full on Alfrostun (in fact, we are only missing a Torrbad!), with three Battalions: Jorlbad (can run and charge, as well as re-roll battleshock tests), Eurlbad (dishes out mortal wounds while the Huskard does more damage), and a Skal (the Icebrow Hunter and Frost Sabres can ambush the enemy).

Deathrattlers
Mounted Wight King (the Cold-Iron King)
Wight King
Grave Guard x 30
Black Knights x 10
Skeleton Warriors x 60 (two units of 30)
Spirit Hosts (two units of 3)
Cairn Wraiths x 4
Morghast Archai (two units of 2)
Mourngul

Against any other force, the presence of the Grave Guard, Morghast Archai and Mourngul might give an enemy pause, but the Deathrattlers are going to have to work very hard just to keep pace with the Beastclaw Raiders, especially as they have no models capable of summoning replacements!

 

The Battleplan

This is a straight fight to the death, with the last army standing gaining victory. The Deathrattlers deploy their army first, followed by the Beastclaw Raiders who place their Jorlbad on one flank, the Eurlbad on the other, and keep the Skal to one side (the Icebrow Hunter and his Frost Sabres will launch a surprise attack in the second battle round).

The Everwinter rules are being used of course, but they have an additional effect in this battle, gradually slowing down the enemy’s run and charge rolls. In return, however, the Deathrattlers are fighting on their home turf, territory that is infused with a network of death magicks – so long as the Cold-Iron King survives, every unit heals D3 wounds in their hero phase.

 

Deployment

The Cold-Iron King assembled his forces on the battlefield. He could see the Beastclaw Raiders were approaching from both flanks, and ordered the bulk of his force to face the Eurlbad.

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The Beastclaw Raiders closed quickly with the forces of the Cold-Iron King, Frostlord Braggoth leading his Eurlbad on the left flank while the Jorlbad took the right. Somewhere, the Skal lurked, its Icebrow Hunter and his Frost Sabres ready to pounce on an unsuspecting enemy.

 

Battle Round One

Frostlord Braggoth immediately saw that the Cold-Iron King was planning to utterly destroy his Eurlbad before turning on the rest of his Ogors, and he called a halt to the advance, instead waving the Jorlbad to hit the right flank alone. He hoped that by baiting the Cold-Iron King on the left and smashing him on the right, he could split the undead legion into its component parts and destroy them piecemeal.

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The Huskard of the Jorlbad dutifully followed his Frostlord’s orders, and Stonehorns and Mournfangs lumbered forward past the woods. At a cry from the Huskard, they charged, smashing into the Spirit Hosts who swarmed close by.

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Under the full weight of a Stonehorn charge, the Spirit Hosts simply dissipated into nothingness, while a Cairn Wraith was clubbed to oblivion by Mournfang Riders.

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The Cold-Iron King reacted quickly, sending a full column of Skeleton Warriors to face the Jorlbad, along with every Morghast he possessed… and the Mourngul.

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Brandishing their spears and empowered by the presence of the Cold-Iron King himself, the Skeleton Warriors swarmed over the Jorlbad, bringing down a Mournfang Rider and badly wounding a Stonehorn carrying Beastriders into battle. Reeling from this attack, the Jorlbad was completely disorganised and had no answer for the Morghast Harbingers who tore apart the Stonehorn apart and savaged its riders.

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Frostlord Braggoth gritted his teeth, cursing the Cold-Iron King. He could see the Jorlbad was in real trouble, but the rest of the undead legion had not moved, simply waiting patiently for the Ogor’s own move.

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Battle Round Two

The assault on the Jorlbad continued with no sign of the undead allowing the Ogors to flee the attack. The Skeleton Warriors continued their relentless advance, now swarming over the Thundertusk, bringing the great beast down with a multitude of spear thrusts, while the Morghasts and Mourngul concentrated on the last of the Mournfang Riders and Huskard.

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Within moments, a wounded Huskard was all that was left of the Jorlbad. Fearing he had left it too late to enact his plan, Frostlord Braggoth made his move, even as the Everwinter swirled around him with a fortifying hoarfrost that coated the hides of the Ogors and their beasts.

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The Frostlord barked an order to one of the Mournfang Riders below him, and a clear, strong note from a horn sounded across the battlefield. At this signal, the Skal appeared, the Icebrow Hunter and a pack of Frost Sabres racing to the aid of the Jorlbad’s Huskard.

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Then, the Eurlbad went into battle.

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The ground shaking as they galloped forwards, three Stonehorns moved straight for the bulk of the Cold-Iron King’s legion, aiming for the elite Grave Guard as Mournfang Riders moved round the flank.

As the Stonehorns struck the undead line, bones and rusted armour were ground into the earth or tossed through the air with merciless abandon.

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Eight Grave Guard simply disappeared beneath the hooves of the three Stonehorns as they all but ignored the sword and axe blows of the dead soldiers. Then Frostlord Braggoth moved to the fore, his Stonehorn and Frostspear sweeping a dozen Grave Guard out of his path, closely followed by the Stonehorn Beastriders who destroyed the rest.

Freed from entanglement from the Grave Guard, the Huskard turned his Stonehorn around to start smashing Skeleton Warriors. Nine of them fell to his blows while more crumbled as the magical energy animating them was disrupted and failed.

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Things were not going so well for the Beastclaw Raiders on the right flank, as the Frost Sabres of the Skal charged in to save the Huskard of the Jorlbad.

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Their sudden appearance had surprised the Morghast Harbingers, but they responded quickly and the Frost Sabres were only able to rip apart one of them, leaving the second to attack the Huskard directly.

The Huskard fought bravely, but he was no match for the skill of the Morghast, which sliced the Ogor’s head off with ease.

 

Battle Round Three

The Cold-Iron King might have felt a touch of doubt at this point, had he been capable of feeling. While the Jorlbad had now been completely destroyed and the Skal posed little threat, the Eurlbad and Frostlord had crushed nearly three score of his warriors in a single rush. A response had to be made immediately.

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Sending his Black Knights around the Arcane Ruins, the Cold-Iron King sought to block the flanking move of the Mournfang Riders and stop them from rampaging through his rear lines.

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Meanwhile, the Skeleton Warriors and Morghast Archai assembled themselves to finish off the Skal with one swift and brutal attack.

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However, the freezing cold of the Everwinter was starting to have a telling effect upon the undead as their joints started to literally freeze in place. The steeds of the Black Knights stumbled as leg bones locked into position.

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However, the Morghasts and Skeleton Warriors were close enough to their prey that they were able to push through the freeze. The Frost Sabres put up a brave defence, tearing apart several Skeleton Warriors before their hearts were pierced by cruel spears, while the Icebrow Hunter was lucky to survive the attack from Morghast Archai and he stumbled away, badly hurt.

Two more Morghast Archai flew to halt the advance of the Eurlbad but though they battered the Stonehorn Huskard, the Beastriders close by destroyed the last of the Skeleton Warriors they faced, freeing up the Frostlord to pile into the Morghasts. With powerful thrusts of his Frostspear and sweeping attacks by the Stonehorn, the Morghasts were smashed apart.

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The Everwinter continued to blow cold, and now a freezing tailwind drove the Beastclaw Raiders on. Frostlord Braggoth bellowed to his Eurlbad, exciting them to maximum violence.

The Mournfang Riders were the first to respond, and they ploughed into the Black Knights before the undead could form a proper charge against them.

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The much larger Mournfangs broke through the Black Knight line, crushing eight of them, while another collapsed to the ground as the magicks supporting it fell away.

As the Icebrow Hunter, bereft of his Frost Sabres, ran for his life from the Morghast Archai, Frostlord Braggoth steeled himself for a task he had known he would have to attend to before the battle had started. With the Jorlbad destroyed, the Mourngul was now free to roam the battlefield, and it now headed towards the Eurlbad with all speed. Joined by his Huskard, Braggoth urged his Stonehorn forward, hoping to destroy the dreadful creature before it could do much damage.

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Even the Mourngul, the Cold-Iron King’s prized servant, reeled under the sheer weight of the Stonehorns and their riders but, when the dust had settled, Frostlord Braggoth was dismayed to see the Mourngul was still fighting and had badly wounded his Huskard.

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Battle Round Four

Frostlord Braggoth felt a touch of fear as he saw the Cold-Iron King was feeding power into the Mourngul, and it was already starting to get stronger after the punishment it had sustained from the Stonehorns.

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To make matter worse, the rest undead legion was now free of both the Skal and Jorlbad, and was now heading back to destroy the Eurlbad.

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The only saving grace Frostlord Braggoth had was that the effects of the Everwinter were growing ever more severe, with even Morghast Harbingers forced to the ground as their wings grew heavy with ice. Only a single Cairn Wraith was able to reach the Stonehorns battling the Mourngul, but the Ogors completely ignored it as they faced the far more terrible foe.

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The Huskard’s Stonehorn was now bleeding from many deep wounds, and it could barely keep to its feet as the Mourngul continued to score several telling hits. However, this was all the distraction that Braggoth needed and as his own Stonehorn gouged the creature, he thrust his Frostspear deep into the Mourngul’s heart. With a piercing screech that pained even the Frostlord, the Mourngul vanished into mist that then dispersed in the winds blown by the Everwinter.

As the Everwinter deposited another fortifying hoarfrost on the few surviving Beastclaw Raiders, Frostlord Braggoth heard the desperate cries of his Icebrow Hunter being pursued by Morghast Archai, and he resolved to rescue his minion.

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Two Morghast Harbingers stood in his way, trying to shake the ice off their wings so they could get airborne. With a thundering of hooves, Braggoth’s Stonehorn barrelled into them, grinding both into the ground before they could raise their weapons.

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Behind him, the Stonehorn Beastriders were now atop a badly wounded beast and were being hard pressed by two Cairn Wraiths and a mounted Wight King. The Mournfang Riders, having dispatched the last of the Black Knights, swung round the Arcane Ruins to slay the Wight King and one of the Wraiths, greatly relieving the pressure on the Beastriders.

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Unfortunately, no such help was available to the Huskard of the Eurlbad, and as his Stonehorn collapsed from its wounds, another Cairn Wraith neatly took his head with its scythe.

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Battle Round Five

Seeing the fate of their Huskard, the Beastriders urged their Stonehorn to break away from the last Cairn Wraith they faced, leaving it to the unhurt Mournfang Riders. Across the battlefield, the Icebrow Hunter ran as fast as he could from the Morghast Archai, believing himself a dead Ogor. However, in the distance, he could see Frostlord Braggoth charging towards him. There was just the slightest chance of help…

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Frostlord Braggoth ploughed into the Skeleton Warriors, heedless of the carnage they had caused to his Jorlbad earlier. Spears splintered and shields shattered under the charge of his Stonehorn, and the Frostlord leaned low in his saddle to swipe at more. The few Skeleton Warriors that remained intact after the charge simply fell into a pile of bones as they were released from servitude.

The rest of the Eurlbad started to follow their Frostlord, who was already far ahead of them and alone.

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Two Mournfangs were still tied up battling a Cairn Wraith, but the Skalg used his pistol in a ride-by shooting that blasted the spirit into nothingness.

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The Cold-Iron King could barely believe what he was seeing, as the Beastclaw Raiders started to surge forward from what had appeared certain defeat. However, he knew he still had his Morghast Archai to serve him, and he retreated to the Ophidian Archway.

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From this vantage point, he could not only see the whole battlefield, but could take advantage of the spirits that lurked within the stones of the ruin.

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The Morghast Archai finally managed to reach the Icebrow Hunter and though Frostlord Braggoth was now close by, their glaives easily tore the heart out of the hunter before he could strike back.

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Battle Round Six

A lone Morghast Harbinger and Cairn Wraith still roamed the centre of the battlefield and, weighed down by ice, they slowly moved to face the Eurlbad.

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Mournfang Riders tore into the Morghast and bludgeoned it apart with their clubs, while the Stonehorn Beastriders simply ride over the Cairn Wraith as if it were not there.

Meanwhile, Frostlord Braggoth, angry that he had not been able to reach the Icebrow Hunter in time, vented his fury upon the Morghast Archai who had done the killing, smashing one apart with his Stonehorn and vanquishing the spirits of the other with his Frostspear.

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Battle Round Seven

With his greatest servants suddenly destroyed, the Cold-Iron King drew his Spirit Hosts closer around him as the Beastclaw Raiders started to circle the Ophidian Archway, searching for the best route to attack.

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The Cold-Iron King could hardly believe what he was seeing – centuries of rule destroyed in moments by primitive Ogors. As Mournfang Riders worked hard to dissipate the Spirit Hosts with their Gargant Hackers, Frostlord Braggoth kicked his Stonehorn forward.

The massive creature thundered into the Ophidian Archway, toppling the ruin in a shower of dust and rubble. Clambering out of the debris, the Cold-Iron King fixed the Braggoth with a baleful glare before his dark unbeating heart was pierced by the Frostspear.

Frostlord Braggoth gave a sigh of relief. His casualties had been great and he had thought not to survive the fight, but he finally stood the victor over this battlefield.

 

Conclusion

Now, that was an interesting battle. Three players were involved, with Andy taking command of the Cold-Iron King’s legion, James on the Jorlbad, Thundertusk and Skal, and I took the Eurlbad and Frostlord.

As we deployed, I could see what Andy was thinking – give one of the pincers (mine!) a right smacking by concentrating most of his forces against it. A good move, as you can lean on a smaller part of your enemy’s force with the greater part of your own. Upon seeing this, I persuaded James’ Jorlbad to dive in while holding back the Eurlbad myself, thinking to disrupt Andy’s plan and force him to face both of us on a more even keel. However, he responded by holding position against me and then sending every Morghast and the Mourngul against James.

This meant that while James enjoyed a very early success against Andy’s outermost forces, he received a right kicking in the first turn that immediately put him on the defensive and, by turn two, the back of his force had been broken.

My Eurlbad did better, completely smashing the Grave Guard and half of Andy’s Skeleton Warriors in good order, but that still left the Morghasts and Mourngul to deal with – by using them in such weight against James, they were still more or less intact.

The one good weapon I still had in my pocket by that time was the Frostlord – while the two other Stonehorns had been seriously wounded (down to just one or two wounds!), the Frostlord was completely untouched, meaning he still had his massive range of attacks. When combined with the mortal wounds a Stonehorn dishes out on the charge and retaining the initiative so he could charge every round, the Frostlord was able to take out each of Andy’s nasty units one by one, ending with the Cold-Iron King himself being beaten while taking refuge in the Ophidian Archway.

This was a great battle – we had some worries right at the start that the undead were simply going to roll over the Ogors, and I am not sure how James feels about being the decoy force (!) but in the end, it came right down to the wire with the Beastclaw Raiders finally pulling out a victory right at the end!

 

The Story Continues…

Next time, we see the Everwinter reach its full potential as it locks an entire legion of daemons in its icy grip!

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